Yesterday I wrote about focusing on the big picture in life. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the importance of the little things we do or say to deepen the connections we have with others. One of the little things my parents taught me as a child is most important, is saying ‘thank you’. When I went with my parents to dinners or other events at the homes of friends or family members, I was always expected to personally thank the hosts for their hospitality before walking out the door. If I forgot, my mother would make a point of sending me back into the house to say these words, “Thank you for having me for (insert name of occasion).”
When I was a kid, I hated doing it, especially if it was the home of someone who made me feel uncomfortable or they served food I didn’t like. Not to mention that I saw it as another aspect of my strict upbringing where I felt my parents made an unnecessary fuss. However, as an adult I recognize the value of what my parents taught me. People appreciate small gestures of gratitude and thanks. Whether it’s the manager who interviews you as a potential employee – I always send a ‘thank you’ note or email after an interview –, or the friend who lifts your mood when you need it most. Showing my gratitude in a tangible way is ingrained in me.
I keep stashes of ‘thank you’ cards at home and I’m always drawn to their beautiful designs and packaging in stationery stores. Although, I don’t believe it’s necessary to spend money to say thank you. A handwritten note or letter goes a long way in these times of electronic communication. Besides, you never know how much such a little thing as letting someone know you appreciate him or her can mean; and the best part about expressing gratitude is you don’t have to wait until a person does something for you. You can simply thank them for being a positive presence in your life.